Tag Archives: Coplowe

Customer Grand Prix Car – Lotus Climax 24 #947

GALPOT Saturday’s will be returning to a potted history of Lotus Cars for the foreseeable future. Picking up the story with the Lotus 24, which although was similar to look at as the preceding Lotus 21, was a fresh space frame design for the 1962 Grand Prix season.

Lotus Climax 24, David Coplowe, Goodwood Revival

The Lotus 24 was primarily designed as a customer Grand Prix car using many of the same suspension components as the 1962 monocoque chassis Lotus 25 Grand Prix car which was reserved exclusively for use by the works Team Lotus.

Team Lotus entered a Lotus 24 for Jim Clark in five pre season non championship races in which he qualified on pole three times and took two victories, Team Lotus also entered a Lotus 24 for Trevor Taylor in several championship races and he scored a best 2nd place finish in the season opening Dutch Grand Prix.

In all 12 Lotus 24’s were built seven with Coventry Climax V8’s like the example above seen with David Coplowe at the wheel at last years Goodwood Revival, and a further five with BRM V8’s.

Of the customer cars Jack Brabham and Innes Ireland scored a couple of points paying 5th places in 1962 as did Jim Hall in a BRM powered example in 1963. The last appearance of a Lotus 24 in a Championship Grand Prix was in 1964 when Peter Revson drove a BRM powered car in the Italian Grand Prix to a 13th place finish.

The Lotus 24 was the last design that Lotus built specifically for customers, among the customers were Rob Walker who entered his Lotus 24 chassis ‘941’ in the 1962 non championship Mexican Grand Prix for 20 year old Ricardo Rodriguez who met his untimely demise in the car after the rear suspension collapsed causing a fatal accident during practice.

Dupont Team Zerex also entered a Lotus 24 ‘The Captain’ Roger Penske in the earlier 1962 US Grand Prix he came home 9th in his second and final Grand Prix appearance.

David Coplowe’s car shown above is chassis #947 which appears to have been originally purchased by then two time World Champion Jack Brabham who used it while he was completing his first Grand Prix car bearing his own name.

South African National Champion Syd van der Vyver acquired the car from Brabham and he rolled it in the 1962 non championship Natal Grand Prix. After repairing it Syd won several local South African races with the car before it was damaged in a garage fire.

Syd rebuilt the car but retired from the sport and the rebuilt 947 passed through several South African owners before being shipped to the USA in the 1980’s where former Lotus mechanic Cedric Selzer saw this car at Laguna Seca in 1984 when it belonged to Monte Shalett.

By the beginning of the millenium the 947 reappeared in Europe in the ownership of Martin Stretton.

My thanks to Wouter Mellissen of the Ultimatecarage.com who kindly identified the chassis number and to Cedric Selzer at The Nostalgia Forum who filled me in with a significant part of the #947’s history.

Thanks for joining me on this Customer Grand Prix Car edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be celebrating Elvis’s birthday. Don’t forget to come back now !

PS Don’t forget …

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